Posted on May 14, 2015 · Posted in News

Reducing the Risk of Stroke through Diet

A stroke is caused when there is a lack of blood and therefore oxygen and nutrients to the brain.  The effects of a stroke depend on what area of the brain is affected.  Three types; thrombotic, embolic and haemorrhagic.  The latter is usually seen in those with high blood pressure.  To reduce the risk of a stroke aim for a diet that keeps cholesterol levels and blood pressure within optimal levels.

Fruit and Veg

Aim for at least 5 servings which are varied colours.  Fruit and veg contain antioxidant vitamins that protect the cells from damage.  Choose fresh, frozen, tinned and dried options.

Bread, Cereals and Potatoes

Should make up at least 1/3 of your diet for energy, B vitamins and insoluble fibre.  Foods include; wholegrain cereals, brown rice, noodles, quinoa, and wholegrain breads.  Oats especially good as they contains B-glucans which help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

Milk and Dairy Foods

Aim for 2-3 servings where 1 serving equates to 200mls semi skimmed milk, yogurt, or matchbox size cheese.  Try to choose lower fat cheeses eg brie, camembert, reduced fat cheddar, or cottage cheese.  Soya milks been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels.

Meat and Alternatives

Have 2 servings of oil rich fish eg mackerel, herring, fresh tuna, trout or if vegetarian similar omega 3 fatty acids can be found in broccoli, spinach, walnuts and soya oil.  Eggs are high in cholesterol which doesn’t impact adversely on blood cholesterol. Pulses such as peas, beans, lentils are good sources of soluble fibre which helps to reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.  Soya has also been muted to help optimise cholesterol levels eg tofu or soya mince worth a try!

Reduce Saturated and Trans Fats

Saturated fat is white and solid at room temperature and raises LDL cholesterol.  Mainly found in animal foods eg meat, lard, butter, and hidden in crisps, cakes, chocolate and pastries.

Unsaturated Fats

Liquid at room temperature and mainly plant or fish in origin eg olive oil, nuts and seeds, and oily fish.  Helps to reduce LDL but maintains healthy HDL cholesterol levels.

Trans Fats

Make liquid fats solid.  Found in processed foods, cakes and biscuits.  Acts like saturated fats pushing up LDL cholesterol.  Is associated with increased risk of heart disease and strokes.

Limit Salt (Sodium) Intake

Increases blood pressure and increases risk of stroke.  Reduce intake of processed foods.  High salt (sodium)content found in canned foods, packet soups and sauces, processed meats, pizzas, takeaway meals, breads, salted nuts and crisps.

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